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New York City FC : Q/A With Hudson River Blue

This is the chat I had with Gabriel from the Hudson River Blue, which is the blog of New York City FC who will join MLS in 2015. Here are sneak peaks of the second franchise from New York.

Shaun Botterill

1-Tell us about your club and the history behind the expansion in MLS

MLS has wanted to have a second team in the New York market for quite some time.  Particularly, they were keen to have a team playing within one of the five boroughs of New York City proper.  Things came together when the Yankees (baseball’s richest team) and Manchester City (backed by Sheik Mansour) decided to team up and buy an MLS expansion team for 100 million dollars.  NYCFC will start out playing in Yankee Stadium, which is less than ideal, as it is built for baseball.  With that said, it is a stadium operated by the team’s owners, so at least there isn’t a loss in rent money.  The team is still growing, as of right now it only has about 6 rostered players, all of whom are out on "loan".

The club’s management is pretty top notch.  Jason Kreis is a proven winner, and Claudio Reyna is a savvy front office and operations man.  Man City and the Yankees know how to run winning franchises financially and on the field, so the expectation is that NYCFC will be good and well supported sooner rather than later.  Losing and being socially irrelevant aren’t really things that either of the team’s owners are familiar with or accept.

2-What kind of rivalry are you expecting with your city rival the New York Red Bull ?

I imagine there will be a decent amount of animosity from the Red Bulls towards NYCFC.  NYCFC are the new kids in town, who also happen to have extremely rich parents and though NYCFC will be playing in a baseball stadium, it’s the first MLS team to actually play in the city of New York.  If I were a Red Bulls fan, I’d be pretty bitter/unhappy that the league and media seem to be fawning over this new team when RBNY has been around in one form or another since the league's inception.

Those logistical and new schools vs. old school factors will continue to be there.  Certainly Red Bull fans will rag on NYCFC fans for supporting a new team from the city vs. having supported "New York’s team" (Red Bulls) from the start.  But let’s be honest: Red Bull fans and NYCFC fans both root for teams owned by massively rich families/corporations, so there are no purists or saints here.   NYCFC just happens to actually be in the city and play at a field that you can take an actual subway to (once again, yes, a baseball stadium). That’s a big factor in why I support them and why I think a lot of other young people will as well.  To be honest, the team doesn’t even really exist yet, so "support" is still a relative term.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing high level professional soccer in New York.  Given there’s zero actual on the field history between RBNY and NYCFC, I don’t harbor any bad feelings towards them.

3-What are you expecting from your two stars player David Villa and Frank Lampard ?

David Villa should be able to be quite a force in MLS.  Strikers and goalscorers from Europe, even if they have lost some pace, seem to be able to translate their game quite well in MLS.  Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry spring to mind.  David Villa won’t be waltzing around defenders and scoring at will, but he will certainly be the basis of a potent strike force.  Frank Lampard should be serviceable and provide some good stability and leadership, but the physicality of MLS, travel, and turf do bring some concern about his longevity.  Jason Kreis has already alluded to "managing" Lampard’s minutes, which could mean not a whole lot of him away from home.

4- What are the expectations from the supporters in New York about their expansion club for next year?

NYCFC probably won’t be pulling a Chicago Fire and winning the league in our first year, but there’s no reason not to think we couldn’t make a run at the playoffs.  Really right now I’m just looking for "not horrible", which as we’ve seen with Toronto FC, might be expecting a lot.

5-Since a few weeks ago, Joey Saputo the owner of the Montreal Impact, is now a part owner of Bologna FC in Serie A. It's the same thing with NYCFC with Manchester City being one of the owners of your team. Tell us what do you think about it and how it can helps your team being successful in the years to come.

Having not only the resources of Manchester City but the expertise will definitely be an advantage for NYCFC.  Technical direction and coaching, whether at the pro level or in NYCFC’s academies, will benefit greatly as will US soccer in general.  The partnership could also work out nicely in the flow of players between clubs, with players from Man City on loan at NYCFC and promising NYCFC players getting potential runs in Manchester (hopefully in the MLS off season).

There could be some difficulties as well though.  In the hierarchy of Man City’s empire, the premier league club is clearly at the top.  We are already seeing some potential conflicts in this with Frank Lampard.  Lamps was supposed to be with NYCFC in time for the MLS season, but now rumors are floating about him staying in Manchester through the end of the Premier League season.  Basically, there will be times either now or in the future when Jason Kreis and Manuel Pellegrini both want a player in their squad, and one of them will not be happy with the result.

6-You have already 2 superstars DP in Villa and Lampard. If a third one is coming to your team what type of player it will be and do you have any idea who it could be ?

There are rumors going around that Erick "Cubo" Torres might be coming to NYCFC as a third DP (RIP Goats).  He’s expressed interest in staying in the states, and New York could be an enticing enough market to keep him in.  Hopefully he realizes that NYC and LA are two very different places.  There is also the possibility of an American coming back from abroad, in which case it lines up nicely with NYCFC having the first allocation spot.  Lastly, NYCFC could always trade that DP slot for someone already in the league, or a package of players with which to build a more solid foundation.

I would like to personally thank Gabriel and Rafael from Hudson River Blue for their time and hopefully work with them in the future.